Enchanting and spectacular, Kampos area of Chios has a lot to be proud of. Although Kampos in English means lowlands and by the literal meaning of the word you are expecting endless green fields, friendly farmers and happy cows, you will be surprised. For sure Kampos is a flat area at a size of 10 sq. km approximately, but is an area rich in heritage, historical medieval buildings and hidden orchards, all preserved behind stone-build boundary high walls.
Kampos, the story behind the walls
This unique historical area of Chios has its origins back in the years of the island’s Genoese dominance (1346-1566).The Genoese took advantage of the fertile soil and the abundance of water in Kampos area where they created large orchards full of citrus trees. Visitors’ testimonies dating back in the 14th century talk about the grandiosity of the aristocratic houses of the region where the upper class lived in either towers or in mansions which were constructed among citrus trees. Farm workers who took care of the estates had their own accommodation either in smaller houses in the estate or on the third floor of the main houses.
These small communities inhabited the mansions in estates which were surrounded by impressive stone walls that are still one of the main characteristics of the region, even in our days. The exports of citrus fruits, together with the mastiha, which was the other main product of the island, were responsible for an era of prosperity that transformed Chios into a flourishing commercial centre.
The Genoese period came to an end in the 13th of April 1566, when Ali Pasha, an Ottoman Commander, takes over the capital of the island. This would mark the beginning of the Ottoman period, which lasts until 1912. Nevertheless, the Genoese past is not forgotten, and the relations with the nations of the West are kept alive through commerce, foreign consulates, the tradition of knowledge through studies in Italian universities, and the architectural heritage left on the island.
In 1822 Chios suffers the tragic consequences of the revolution. A great number of its population is lost slaughtered, the economic system breaks down, and the cultural and architectonic heritage of the island suffers huge losses. The situation degraded itself even further when in 1881 a huge earthquake hits the region, destroying a huge percentage of the remaining mansions of Kampos. Many of them were rebuilt or renewed after the earthquake, having huge influence from Classicism and Eclectism, thus changing many of their previous architectonic characteristics.
Nowadays, Kampos is an historical site, where anyone can wander and travel through time, revisiting its glorious past. Many of the mansions have been renewed and turned into accommodation for visitors, in an attempt to revive not only the historical character of the region, but also all the aspects of the agricultural life and its evolution on the region.
While staying in Kampos, there are a number of alternative/different activities to participate in, that will allow you to explore different aspects of the region.
Experience Kampos – Cycling Tour and Chios Cooking lesson
The best way to experience Kampos is on wheels. Goat Trails team is offering you an alternative ride through the narrow streets of Kampos. Grab one of our bikes, in order to discover the beauty and uniqueness of the region. The flat topography of the area makes this 10 km bicycle ride accessible to everyone, even to the more inexperienced riders.
Several sightseeing stops along the ride reveal the secrets and the essence behind the high stone-walls. Charming, small churches, the aromas released from the orchards, the unexplored little corners of nature, taking in some of the most spectacular scenery in the area.
• Citrus Museum, an old orchard that has turned into museum and coffee place as well. Here one can have the opportunity not only to make a refreshment brake but also to taste some local sweets and discover the History and past glory of Kampos through the museum’s expedition.
• St. George Fakas, a small charming Church, built on the top of a hill, surrounded with pine trees, offers a panoramic view of the area. Worth the 10 min walk till there through a secret hiking trail.
• Orchards owned to local producers, biologically cultivated.
Helpful advice: Try to wear comfortable clothes and sports shoes. Bicycles and helmets are provided by us.
Cycling in Kampos is an alternative activity that will definitely inspire you. Although if you can ride a bike you can participate since level of fitness is not a requirement, you will be surprised by the end of the ride delving deeper in a Chios Cooking Lessons. Since no visit in Kampos will be completed without tasting a bite of the island, Experience Kampos has a delicious and hands-on culinary experience you can’t afford to miss.
Chios Cooking lessons
RealChios has rounded up a series of Cooking Lessons to spice up your Kampos Experience. A rural Mansion in the area, dated back to Genovese era will host our willingness to take a slice of Chios back home. This epicurean hotspot features all the key ingredients necessary to appease your taste buds, with a cooking lesson and memorable handcrafted meal. One whiff of these dishes and you’re sure to feel inspired to book your next culinary escape.
Chios Cooking Lesson is a hands-on experience where you will make, taste and enjoy traditional Greek recipes and prepare delicious dishes with the guidance and assistance of our Home-Cooker, Teodora. All the dishes are made of genuine pure Chian & Greek products such as olive oil, vegetables, cheese, meat, wine, etc. and of course all the ingredients are fresh and local. In addition, useful information about the herbs, olive oil and other ingredients is given, together with explanations of their nutritional value and usage. Written recipes are provided along with small treatments to remember this day.
• A hand-on delicious experience of a full 5 course lunch menu
• Unlimited consumption of Chios Beer, Chios wine & Soft drinks
• Recipe book – Goodie bag
After cooking, you will all eat together on a long monastery-style table, enjoying the fruits of your creativity with local wine and bread, Greek music and nice stories……
join us, Experience Kampos!